AKB48: A Microcosm Of Dark Corporate Japan. Sexual exploitation of child labor is sooo cute. (Book review)

AKB48 aren't just a band of  teenage girls creepily sexually exploited by a money-grubbing management team that includes an ex-yakuza associate, they're also symbols of how badly workers in Japan get screwed over--in every way.

Shohei Sakakura has linked Black Companies with the nation’s most famous and lucrative girl group AKB 48. “AKB48 and the Black Companies,” and his indictments make Walmart look like a towering monument to worker’s rights. Yasushi Akimoto was a Zegen with a vision – having never been popular in high school himself, he recognized the deep sexual frustration and vast need for sexual fantasies festering in the educated and dateless Japanese male.

Confessions of A Yakuza Bodyguard/芸能界のドンの用心棒の告白

In October of 2011, it became illegal to profit the yakuza in any business including showbiz.  The attempts to ban yakuza from the entertainment world have sadly been more amusing than effective.

It may come across as an excuse but the entertainment industry will never see the end to altercations with the local yakuza regarding profit. When I was requested to be the bodyguard, I initially thought that I would serve as the fixer for yakuza issues. In actuality, Suoh asked me to work for him after the shootings targeting him, which later turned out to be staged by nobody but Suoh himself. I did not for a second imagine that I would be asked to “destroy” or “kill” an actress when I first took the job.

Hey, Baby? You’re fired & don’t come back. Maternity Harassment (MATAHARA) and The Working Woman in Japan

Fighting Against Maternity Harassment is a grass roots effort

According to Japanese Trade Union Confederation, matahara is an abbreviation of “maternity harassment.” The word refers to mental or physical harassment that some workingwomen go through when they announce to their colleagues that they’re pregnant or after they come back to the office from maternity leave. Some women come back to find themselves demoted or receiving a pay cut. In the worst-case scenario, some are even pressured to quit or fired. Harassment comes not only from men in the office but other women as well—sometimes out of irritation that their workload will increase, sometimes out of a kind of jealousy.

How did Japan’s Whalers Of The Past Feel About Their Job & The Whales They Killed?

whales kissing

Despite the popular opinion that Japan’s dedicated pro-whaling community comes from a background of legendary, barbaric whalers who slaughtered whales without mercy, some reports show that pre-harpoon whalers were actually very considerate for the feelings of these giant creatures. Sociologist Hiroyuki Watanabe’s book titled Japan’s Whaling, takes a broad look at the entirety of the […]

The Sweet Taste Of Thailand….In Kagurazaka? (神楽坂のタイ?)”Roti” rocks

Roti with banana, chocolate, eggs, and coconut ice cream over crispy and chewy bread (Roti) was a hard to find Thai treat in Tokyo. Now you can find it in Kagurazaka

Making Roti is not easy. It takes some real expertise to stretch the dough and make it very thin. Hence, despite the popularity of Thai food in japan, this dessert is not seen anywhere. Fortunately, the first Roti place called Gootora cafe is now opened in Kagurazaka

Manga and Dating Sims: The Real Path to Japanese Mastery

Check out our review of Benjamin Boas' story of how he got interested in Japan through games and manga.

Boas also provides some useful vocabulary for the basic Japanese learner, particularly while exploring manga and anime’s odd visual effects to communicate emotion, such as veins popping to signal anger which often resemble traffic intersections, and teardrops the size of ostrich eggs to symbolize embarrassment. Boas also touches on the fact that characters often respond to getting excited by girls’ underwear by getting intense nosebleeds or 鼻血(hanadji), which I first thought to be chopsticks sprouting from their noses (pictured below).

Japan’s Classic (Misleading) Pro-Whaling Book: “You can’t tell us what to eat!”

Japan's Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR) tells shows you the many ways to utilize whale meat!

Japan’s fishing traditions have long-been one of its most important aspects, surviving hundreds of years mostly on fish as well as obscure seafood such as sea urchins, squids and eels instead of red meat. But now with the world’s human population reaching new heights, many organizations have requested Japan stop hunting certain endangered species, particularly […]

Scary Things You Never Knew You Didn’t Know About Japanese Halloween

The creators of the YouTube data-driven drama series, Nonalog which “tells the stories of young people finding each other in an overly-connected world” turns its attention to Halloween for a special omnibus episode. The series motto is “from search data, we look into what Japanese people are really searching for” and this time its applied to Halloween.

In Japan, Hamster Asses Are Cute. Cute my ass, hamsters are homicidal rodents.

Screenshot 2015-07-06 13.10.55

Next time, you’re fawning over a cute hamster butt, look closely and you may notice the blood stained hairs that are probably the trace evidence of their cannibalized lover or children after passing through their digestive system into a smelly pile of hamster shit.
Cute, my ass!

Gudetama: The Lazy Egg That Japan Loves


Strange characters are not something new to Japan. Sanrio’s anthropomorphic egg, affectionately named “Gudetama” which literally translates to ‘Lazy Egg’ in English is no exception.